Herne Hill Piano documentary to open South London film festival

A young man plays the Herne Hill station public piano. Credit: Herne Hill Forum

A new documentary showing community spirit generated by a very colourful piano will open the Herne Hill Free Film Festival on Friday May 2.

The Herne Hill Piano Film is a short documentary about a public piano placed in the walkway at Herne Hill Station, directed by Maureen Ni Fiann and made in collaboration with local film-maker Tom Rochester and the film festival itself.

The documentary showcases the sense of community generated by the piano, with strangers playing, dancing or simply stopping to listen to the music, subverting the ‘unfriendly’ London stereotype.

Ms Ni Fiann said: “I noticed that the piano encouraged a lot of genuine personal interaction, and to see that happening in an urban environment was fascinating.

“It is a natural community maker in the gentlest, most unassuming way.”

Giles Gibson, of Herne Hill Forum, said:  “The local community really care for the piano, and that is why that it has survived in the walkway for 2 years, it may even be the longest time that any street piano has been in any one place in London.

“We look forward to celebrating it’s second birthday this summer.”

The Herne Hill Film Festival, which is run entirely by volunteers, runs until Saturday May 31.